Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 17

PHYSICAL READINESS TRAINING phases mean very little to platoon-level leaders who plan and administer PRT sessions. The cycle is rarely executed to time standards even at the brigade level, and leader turnover throughout the process makes execution of similarly phased PRT impractical. The Master Fitness Trainer Course (reconstituted in the last two years to teach PRT per FM 7-22) holds a great deal of potential. This four-week course develops PRT trainers at the noncommissioned officer (NCO) and junior officer level who then return to their units as PRT experts.5 However, the course needs to be more fully de veloped and given a much higher degree of emphasis and prestige to effect real change. Most important, FM 7-22 and Army PRT programs have yet to empower and inspire soldiers with effective ways to become fit. Much of PRT’s unpopularity among soldiers comes from its exercise movements, which could be perceived as random or even silly by those who do not grasp their purpose. Lateral, medial, and bent-leg raises; single leg tucks; windmills; and halfsquat laterals all could appear to 20-year-old men to be akin to the exercise videos their mothers did on Saturday. Soldiers see little carryover between these functional movements and real-life combat operations. That does not mean that such functional movements are not important; in fact, functional movements are very important. Developing common understanding will enable pursuit of common goals. What is fitness? Fitness definitions and taxonomies abound, but many (including dictionary definitions) are inadequate because they do not describe qualities that are easily measured. CrossFit founder Greg Glassman uses a definition that is quantifiable and appropriate for all applications of physical fitness.6 (CrossFit is strength and conditioning program that has gained popularity among soldiers and athletes.) Fitness, Glassman asserts, is the ability to produce power across two broad domains: a time domain and a modal domain (sometimes called modalities). Power is a quantifiable biomechanical phenomenon. It is defined as the rate at which work is performed.7 Power can be expressed algebraically as To improve the implementation of the Army’s PRT, soldiers need to master a common lexicon and a basic level of physiological understanding. This paper attempts to begin a discussion that will lead to establishing definitions of commonly bandied but poorly understood concepts of physiology, biomechanics, and sports technique principles. Photo By Clifford Kyle Jones, NCO Journal Discussion Proper running form is among the lessons in the Master Fitness Trainer Course at Fort Jackson, S.C., 29 January 2013. MILITARY REVIEW  September-October 2014 15